Sudan's Hausa people block roads after tribal clashes kill 79

AFP , Monday 18 Jul 2022

Thousands of Sudan's Hausa people set up barricades and attacked government buildings in several cities Monday, witnesses said, after a week of deadly tribal clashes in the country's south.

Sudanese protesters
Sudanese protesters take part in an anti-military take over demonstration on a barricaded street in the Daym - Bashdar station area in central Khartoum, on July 17, 2022. AFP


In a bid to shed light on the violence in Blue Nile state, which has killed 79 people according to local authorities, Hausa activists called for a demonstration Tuesday in Sudan's capital Khartoum.

The clashes, between the Berti and Hausa tribes, first erupted last Monday after the Bertis rejected a Hausa request to create a "civil authority to supervise access to land", a prominent Hausa member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

But a senior member of the Bertis had said the tribe was responding to a "violation" of its lands by the Hausas.

The health ministry in Blue Nile state revised the death toll from the fighting to 79 on Monday, up from a previous count of 60, while also revising the wounded toll up to 199, from 163.

Blue Nile governor Ahmed al-Omda on Friday banned public gatherings and marches for one month and imposed a night-time curfew in the state, which borders Ethiopia.

In a statement Monday, he said authorities will "strike with an iron fist" against those inciting "racism, hatred and strife," according to state news agency SUNA.

Troops were deployed in Blue Nile on Saturday.


Since then, tensions have escalated elsewhere. In the eastern city of Kassala, the government banned public gatherings after several thousand Hausa people "set government buildings and shops on fire", according to eyewitness Hussein Saleh.

"It's panic in the city centre," Kassala resident Idriss Hussein told AFP by telephone. He said protesters were "blocking roads and waving sticks."

In the city of Wad Madani, some 200 kilometres (around 125 miles) south of Khartoum, "hundreds of Hausa people put up stone barricades and burned tires on the main bridge to block traffic", resident Adel Ahmed told AFP.

Experts say a military take over led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in October 2021 has created a security vacuum that has fostered a resurgence in tribal violence, in a country where deadly clashes regularly erupt over land, livestock, access to water and grazing.

Pro-democracy activists have accused Sudan's military and ex-rebel leaders who signed a 2020 peace deal of exacerbating ethnic tensions in Blue Nile for personal gain.

The Hausas are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, with tens of millions of members living in several countries.

There are three million Hausas in Sudan, where they largely follow the majority religion of Islam, but speak their own native language rather than Arabic.

They mostly live off agriculture in Darfur, Al-Jazira state and in the eastern states of Kassala, Gedaref, Sennar and Blue Nile.

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